2009: the year of the billion hungry people

17.07.2009 - UN - Pressenza IPA

Josette Sheeran, Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), warned today that the increase in the price of food has added another 105 million hungry people this year, taking the total to a billion.

Sheeran made these declarations in a meeting of G8Development ministers, to whom she requested that they do not reduce aid to poor countries despite the economic crisis. *”This year we are seeing an increase of four million more hungry people per week”*, said the WFP Director.

During 2008, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calculated that 963 million people suffered hunger in the world. The WFP needs to receive 6.4 billion dollars (4.571 billion Euros) this year to continue its assistance campaigns, but donations have dropped considerably.

Sheeran compared this data with the packages of economic stimulus approved by developed countries. *”Less than one percent (of those funds) could help the urgent humanitarian crisis that is taking place”*, she explained.

Because of the financial crisis, the level of donations is at its lowest point in 20 years and people in developing countries can only buy a third of the food they could acquire three years ago, according to UN calculations.

Commitment of the G8

On the other hand, the representatives of the G8 were reminded of their commitment to donate more than 25 billion dollars (almost 19 billion Euros) to Africa up to 2010, as agreed in 2005.

However, a report of the NGO ONE published this week estimates that the G8 are far from fulfilling this commitment.

The group added that Italy comes last in this matter, for which it is losing its credibility during its term as president of the G8. The NGO pointed out that Italy has only given three percent of the help promised by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi four years ago.

*Translator: Silvia Swinden*

Categories: International, International issues, North America, Opinions

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